When a dog bite leaves you with debilitating injuries, someone has to pay for that damage it has caused you. New Jersey state law holds dogs’ owners legally responsible for the injuries they cause, and homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover the financial consequences.
Strict Liability Law
Dog bite laws differ from one state to another. In some states, victims need to prove that the dog that bit them had a history of aggression. Fortunately, New Jersey is a state with what’s called “strict liability” laws. Under these laws, a dog’s owner is responsible for its behavior, including any injuries it causes – regardless of whether it has a history of attacking others.
However, pursuing compensation from the owner personally would be problematic. For one thing, the owner can’t pay you money that he or she doesn’t have, and with dog bite injuries causing thousands (and sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands) of dollars in damages, many owners wouldn’t personally be able to pay. Then there’s the fact that many victims are bitten by dogs owned by their friends, relatives, or neighbors. If they had to take money from people they care about just to get the compensation they deserve, some victims might be reluctant to pursue a case at all.
Insurance in Dog Bite Claims
Fortunately, homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover the damages inflicted when policyholders’ dogs bite visitors. When there’s insurance coverage available, you don’t have to worry that you’ll never actually see the money that you win in a settlement or jury verdict. You also don’t have to worry that your pursuing compensation is somehow taking money from someone you love. The only thing you do have to worry about is getting the insurance company to treat you fairly – and that’s where we come in.
The purpose of insurance is to pay for covered events. The dog’s owner purchased a homeowner’s insurance policy specifically to cover any accidents, injuries, and damages that might occur on their property. Even though the insurance company created a contract with the homeowner, don’t expect the insurer to be eager to pay what it owes. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and they tend to regard claims as expenses that take away from their bottom line. Often, insurers try to minimize the value of cases, delay paying what they owe, or deny the claim altogether. This is the reason it’s essential that you have someone on your side with experience handling dog bite cases and inside knowledge of how insurance companies operate.
At Console & Associates P.C., we have insider experience with the insurance industry as well as 20 years of experience practicing personal injury law. We’ll help you figure out who is legally and financially responsible for your dog bite injury, and we’ll handle every interaction with the insurance company so you can focus on recovery. Call (856) 778-5500 and leave the legal matters to us – you’ve got enough on your plate.